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Year in review: India’s coolest car geeks pick their top 2020 drive

We catch up with some of our top Instagram auto enthusiasts and car geeks to find out their picks of the best cars of 2020.

McLaren 720S, picked by Faisal Khan, content creator and founder, MotorBeam

“My favourite car pick of the year 2020 has to be the McLaren 720S, a supercar that punches way above its weight, producing more power than the company claims. I got to drive this beast in Switzerland but the weather was far from being the best, which added to the unforgettable experience.

“On the day of the drive, it was raining and being a rear-wheel drive car, I had to be really careful with the 720S. However, as I drove up the hill, it started snowing which made it both fun and scary to drive this McLaren. But once the weather cleared up, every small patch of road saw me getting heavy on the throttle to enjoy the immediate response from the twin-turbo engine, which not only revs very fast but also sounds loud and sporty. It was an amazing day, experiencing one of the best supercars in the world on some great country roads.”

Mercedes Benz S-Class, picked by Hani Musthafa, chief editor & founder of Flywheel

“‘Sonderklass’ means ‘Special-Class’ in German, that’s how the world’s largest luxury carmaker, Mercedes-Benz, call its flagship, S-Class. This premium car is considered special for various reasons, but primarily because it set a benchmark for the auto world to follow. S-Class is one car that has always led its segment by introducing latest technology, which rivals often follow in their future offerings. This year, Mercedes launched the latest avatar of this flagship sedan, internally known as W223, which again set new standards in the industry.

“This next-gen S-class is loaded with the latest frills. Exterior styling is a leap above its predecessor. However, the interior is a complete transformation from the past, in keeping with the carmaker’s present philosophy of modern luxury. This sedan is offered in standard, long wheel base, and in the opulent ‘Maybach’ versions. There will be various petrol, diesel, and plug-in hybrid powertrains in 4, 6, 8, and even a V12 under the hood of Maybach variants, not omitting the sporty AMG powerhouses to follow later. The S-Class is popularly known as ‘the best car in the world’, and with this latest one, Mercedes is proving to the world that it is capable of holding this title safely in its hands.”

Audi RS Q8, picked by Nishant Padhiar, editor, Stuff magazine

“My favourite car of 2020 has to be the Audi RS Q8 and it is special for many reasons. First of all, it is based on the fantastic Q8, but on a very heavy dose of steroids. You have a V8 engine churning out almost 600 horsepower, and it is an SUV that goes like a sports car around corners, straight lines, sounds mental, and is practical. I took it on the narrowest of dirt tracks somewhere around Karjat near Mumbai, and it did brilliantly on these tracks. It is genuinely a capable SUV and a super sports car all rolled into one, perfect for Mumbai’s streets.

MG ZS EV, picked by Rachit Hirani, content creator and founder-editor, MotorOctane

“If you can’t afford a high-octane petrol car, go electric. The MG ZS EV is truly staggering in its outright power. It is a stunner of a package. It is absolutely green, beats most of the petrol cars in its price, and is practical for Indian roads. If you are buying just to save money on fuel, drive it in the Sport Mode. I’m complete petrolhead who loves outright performance, and nothing is better than electric in this segment. I recently broke a travel record of Mumbai to Delhi in this electric SUV within 49 hours and this includes charging. Try this EV and you might just forget the turbo kick of a car.”

Mahindra Thar, picked by Renuka Kirpalani, executive editor video content, Autocar India

“My pick is one that may not be perfect and is a little quirky, but one that evokes strong emotions. The new Mahindra Thar is just that. The love begins with its handsome, rugged looks that draw you in. But it goes deeper into a pair of impressive new engines, a 152hp, 2.0-litre turbo petrol, and a 132hp, 2.2 litre diesel, both smooth, refined, and with enough grunt to make it fun, The huge 226mm of ground clearance means you haul yourself up behind the wheel, but then you have a king-of-the-road feel, especially with the way it decimates bad roads or conquers rough terrain. The real wow factor, though, lies in the quantum leap ahead in its interior quality, features, and comfort level that have changed it from just an iconic off-roader to a car with a much wider appeal, and one that leaves you lusting after it.”

Land Rover Defender, picked by Tushar Burman, editor, tech2.com

“The year 2020 was understandably dull for fun cars, but I think my year was capped rather well by the Land Rover Defender that I had the brief opportunity to drive. It’s huge, imposing, and draws rubber-necking crowds even while on the go. Of course, with the storied Defender badge, you get the off-road ability of an earth mover, and so many interesting, practical features. The crazy-tall 291mm of ride means you actually have to jump in and out of the SUV. Of course, you can lower it with a button so as to not wrinkle your outerwear. The insane 900mm(!) of wading depth ensures that you’re the driest, and possibly only driver out and about during the Mumbai monsoon. I can’t think of another vehicle I’ve recently driven that has the brutish intimidation that the Defender allows. Excellent for clearing the roads in India.”

Year in review: India’s coolest car geeks pick their top 2020 drive

Riaan George

Riaan J. George is a luxury journalist and blogger based between Mumbai, India, and Colombo, Sri Lanka. He has also worked for several leading luxury publications including L’Officiel India, Eat Stay Love, Blackbook India. He is passionate about covering beats like luxury trends, grooming, men’s fashion, auto, hospitality and aviation.

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